Sega Retrospective

Sega Retrospective
The Shining Force

Lisa Gay | 25 Jan 2011 13:54
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So you, as a loyal Shining fan, buy Scenario 1 and discover it to be a fantastic game blending tactical battles with JRPG elements. You start getting sucked into an immersive storyline seemingly about political intrigue, but then chilling signs of a greater evil slowly appear. You start to become emotionally invested in the characters and wonder what lies in store for them. But now, all the characters you've become attached to and care about, well, you have no idea what happens to them. You know there is a larger game afoot, and that the plot is about to thicken, that something big is about to upset everything. But how that will happen, and who will be affected, you've no way of knowing. You are, in a word, stuck.

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Bereft of a proper ending, Shining Force III fans pulled together to try to convince Sega to translate and bring the last two scenarios of the game west. Moogie of fansite Shining Force Central was one of the leaders of the original campaign in 1999. At that time, it was merely an online petition, but an unexpected response from Sega inspired her to keep campaigning.

"Sega told me that although there were no current plans for a new game in the Shining Force line, they could tell me that they receive a lot of fan mail expressing an interest in the series," said Moogie. She started "Phase II" after the internet campaign to let Sega know just how eager Shining Force fans were for anything - be it a translation, a compilation or even a new game.

This second phase had several bases around the world that gathered emails and letters that would later be posted to Sega as well as Camelot and Climax (a studio who jointly helped Camelot make Shining Force). They compiled a package that included a petition containing over 2,000 names, but this campaign had a few logistical problems. Because the packs were sent from multiple centers, they lost touch with each other. Moogie still has no idea if the other centers ended up sending their campaign packs.

Whether by coincidence or out of desire to please the fanbase, Sega Japan announced Shining Soul in October 2001 - a mere six months after the campaign packs were sent. But it wasn't the Shining Force fans were hoping for due to the absence of Camelot, the original creative crew. In any case, Phase III was already underway.

Moogie learned from the difficulties of the previous effort and decided to take leadership of the entire campaign herself. And she decided not to be picky about which console, and ended up targeting the three main branches of Sega and Nintendo. But the amount of work she went through was astonishing. Not only did she collect postal letters and printed emails, she was also checking IP addresses to make sure the over 5,000 entries in the petition were unique. Then she put together a professional-looking package and produced a slickly-labeled CD with all the data inside.

With a package like that on your doorstep, you respond. And Sega of America related to Moogie that the campaign pack was "well received". Though they withheld any concrete news about future Shining games, they implied that they would bring the issue up at their upcoming Global Software Meeting. And Sega of Japan? A tiny crack in their armor - they said they were impressed with her effort. "They said that normally their policy was to not reply to fan mail from outside of Japan, but in this case they made an exception, which I suppose shows how much impact the campaign pack had."

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